Nepal Project – Clinic Day 1

Posted: 16th May 2013 by dan in Uncategorized

A brief description of the facility and our daily general schedule may assist in visualizing the event in Kathmandu.

The 3 day event, from May 10-12, was held at the “Covered Hall”…..the same facility the National Nepalese Men’s Basketball team uses to practice and play games at. The court is full size and offers spectator seats on both sides, with 2 hoops. Unfortunately the wood flooring is quite neglected and provides an uneven, bumpy surface.

The “start-tea-lunch-end” times for all 3 days of the KTM “clinic” and “tournament” were scheduled to be the same….Start at 10:00 a.m., Tea break from 11:00-11:15 a.m., Lunch from 1:00-2:00 p.m., End at 4:00 p.m.

Although Dan had assisted in moving the wheelchairs the day before to the Covered Hall from an NGO storage area where they were being held since being cleared through customs by Michael Rosenkrantz and Bharat. The chairs were in need of some attention…….pumping up of tires, making sure the right wheels were on the right frames, tightening of nuts, etc… After being picked up by a driver from Nature Trails Trekking and Tours, Greg and Dan arrived at the covered Hall at 8:30 a.m. to ensure having ample time to make adjustments/repairs. Most of the tires needed air, some wheels had to be switched around, upholstery reattached……fairly basic stuff except for the fact that many of the tires had Presto valve tubes which need an adapter in order to work with a regular pump. Unfortunately WAW did not have an adapter with them and the small hand pump available on site only accommodated the more traditional valve. Thinking this would only be a small hurdle to overcome, we approached all of the organizers, the volunteers, Michael, Bharat, and a few other individuals in the vicinity. Apparently WAW had brought a very alien type of tube on some of the wheels as NO ONE had ever seen a Presto valve, and sincerely believed that no such “adapter” or pump existed in all of Nepal. Being positive and “can-do” thinking men, Greg  and Dan tried to explain what was needed and where to find it to one of the outstanding volunteers, Akosh. With the starting time drawing closer, the opening ceremony dignitaries arriving and wanting to check out the donated chairs and speak with the WAW team, Dan and Greg were still busy dealing with repair issues, and more than a little concerned about having several chairs be totally out of commission with low/flat tires. With minutes to go before the start of the Opening Ceremonies, Akosh came to the rescue by showing up with a Presto valve compatible pump!

There were a number of dignitaries, and all took a few minutes to make a speech about the importance of the event, to thank the many sponsors, the need for inclusion and acceptance of the disabled, to thank Michael Rosenkrantz for all his hard work, and other dignitary-type comments. On behalf of WAW, Dan made a short speach thanking all the participants for coming, the sponsors involved, thanking Michael Rosenkrantz, and extending the hope that the wheelchairs being donated would help promote adaptive sports not only with the Nepal Wheelchair Rugby Association but in all of Nepal.

Once the speeches were concluded, it was time for tea. After which the real “clinic” would begin.

At approximately11:30 a.m., once tea was done, the participants, ALL 60 OF THEM — FROM THE VERY YOUNG TO THE VERY OLD, FROM THOSE IN HOSPITAL-TYPE WHEELCHAIRS TO THOSE IN LOCAL SPORT CHAIRS, GIRLS & BOYS, MEN & WOMEN, were gathered and informed by WAW that moving forward the event schedule would begin and end on time…..not on Nepali-time but actual clock time. This was done because of many comments by people that things in Nepal operate on “Nepali-time”, meaning with little regard to actual time. WAW felt it important to stress the need for punctuality and discipline from the start.

For about 15 minutes, Raj (Coach of the Army wheelchair basketball team) conducted stretching exercises. The balance of time until lunch (1:00 p.m.), Greg and Dan conducted suicide drills, games of tag, sharks and minnows. Once everyone was thoroughly warmed up and somewhat sweaty, it was time for lunch.

Lunch, much to the surprise of WAW, was prepared on-site by white-aproned, chef-hat wearing culinary school students, and needless to say was quite delicious.

From 2:00 to 3:30, the group broke up into 3 stations manned by Raj (dribbling and passing), Greg (shooting), and Dan (exposure to the new chairs). Each group changed stations once every 30 minutes. Everybody getting into the new chairs were delighted by how easy it was to push and manuever them. In many cases it took a few requests to get them out of the new chairs. Even the ones that were initially hesitant to get into them, smiles and laughter and enjoyment were in abundance!

From 3:30-4:00, the group broke out into 2 groups for a lay-up competition. With the combination of somewhat experienced players, beginners, and people who had never shot a basketball before in their lives, the lay-up competition proved to be entertaining, challenging, and surprisingly very closely competitive. The winning side only won by a margin of a few lay-ups.

The day drew to a close, with many people still beaming with smiles and gushing with appreciation and thanks, in Nepali and broken English. The only concern for the next few days was the threat of a city-wide “Banda” (general strike) on Sunday (Day 3) called for by one of the many minority political parties unhappy with one thing or another the Government decided to do. The fear is that IF a Banda occurs, it shuts down EVERYTHING, including operation of public and private vehicles, and thus there may be no way for participants to attend the last day of the Nepal Project!

Nepal Project – Clinic Day 2

Posted: 16th May 2013 by dan in Uncategorized

The second day started promptly at 10:00 a.m. with everyone from the day before plus a few others. Raj once again conducted stretching exercises for approximately 15 minutes, and Dan and Greg conducted suicide drills, games of tag and a few laps around the court until tea time at 11:00. Although not intended, in doing the suicide drills, a couple of participants almost took the drill name literally on both days…..meaning that a couple of the participants fell backwards during the part of the drill where you have to push backward, not being very careful to see who they were running into. Some fell harder than others, forgetting to pull their heads forward as they fell. Fortunately they all rubbed their heads, brushed off the embarrassment, and rejoined the drill with enthusiasm, and no severe injury.

From 11:15 until lunch at 1:00 p.m., Greg and Dan discussed/demonstrated fouls — defensive fouls, offensive fouls, chair fouls, body fouls — and made a concerted attempt to show, demonstrate and conduct 3 on 2 drills. With over 60 participants of greatly varying degrees of skill/physical ability and huge differences in chair mobility, it would be an understatement to say it was a challenge. However, Greg and Dan both agree that by the end of the drill, a glimmer of comprehension and competency began to take hold. To their credit, all the participants paid attention and made a sincere, dedicated attempt to follow instructions which were being translated by hard working, over-used volunteer student translators. Being the local, well known, English speaking coach, Raj was frequently and loudly summoned by Dan (and Greg), to the point that he was asked to go in two directions/do two things at the same time. Much to his credit and with thanks from Dan and Greg, Raj obliged ALL requests with a never-ending smile and sincere desire to be of assistance. In short, Raj rocked!!

From 2:00-2:30, Dan and Greg demonstrated and discussed falling techniques and the importance of being able to, trying to, get up on one’s own power. Since it was noted that disabled people in Nepal appeared to get an abundance of physical assistance, to the point of stifling independence, WAW felt it was important to discuss the importance and value of self-reliance and independence. Answering questions and using participants to also demonstrate, falling and getting up techniques proved to be a very popular topic for all.

From 2:30-4:00 Wheelchair Soccer, or rather Wheelchair Futbol, was discussed and played. However, in keeping with the extreme degree of preparedness that WAW at times demonstrates, it was only noticed at lunch that appropriate balls to play with were missing, and maybe non-existent. Once again Akosh, the amazing, was summoned to find and procure an appropriate ball(s) for the afternoon event. In spite of Saturday being the nation-wide day off for most, and most stores being closed, Akosh once again came to the rescue and showed up with two, smaller-than-desired, softer-than-regulation balls. With no other choices, except to use basketballs, they had to suffice.

The volunteers marked off the 5′ goal area, taped off the 10′ goal crease, and two half-court futbol fields were ready to go. The group was divided into teams and Futbol Soccer was played, somewhat informally, for the first time ever, in not only Kathmandu, but in all of Nepal! Surprisingly, to the great joy of Greg and Dan, the game was not only well received, but loved and played enthusiastically by all. The players played so hard, that with 15 minutes left before the end of the day, out of concern for the well being of the players in Dan’s (not Greg’s) futbol field, Michael Rosenkrantz took it upon himself to enforce and ensure the players, in the middle of their game, took a “juice-box” break (Mango being the flavor of the day) to appropriately hydrate.

It is WAW’s opinion that with the built in facility limitations in Nepal, the variety-of-disability inclusiveness of futbol (soccer), the potential to compete at an international level, wheelchair futbol (soccer) may be/should be a sport as widely played/promoted throughout Nepal as any other.

The final day consisted of both a 3-on-3 tournament, and a 5-on-5 tournament, and NO BANDA!!

As with the preceding days, we started at 10:00 a.m. sharp with stretching exercises. However, the final day featured WAW volunteer Marylyn conducting the stretching exercises instead of Raj. With her expansive background in yoga, and physical therapy, Marylyn took the participants through a variety of moves for a 15 minute period.

Upon a general vote (with Michael Rosenkrantz not voting), it was decided for the final day that tea-time would be taken, if desired, by the teams not involved in the 3-on-3 competition, and not by all at the same time (thus not breaking the flow of the competition). The entire group (60+ participants) was broken up into 3-person teams, Coach Raj helping to divide the teams up as evenly as possible. With only two half-courts to play on, both Greg and Dan had 10 teams to play all teams at least once, then semi-final and final games per court, with a FINAL cross-over competition facing off the two winners, and the two second-place teams from each court…..all games to be played and completed by 1:00 p.m. , in time for lunch. Unfortunately lunch was delayed by approximately 5-10 minutes in order for the final games to be played (deemed to be a scheduling success under the circumstances). Note** each 3-on-3 team, while playing, were permitted to use two of the new chairs.

After lunch, starting at 2:00 p.m. (yes, all participants agreed to cut their lunch short by 15 minutes), the group was broken up into 9 teams….Coach Raj once again helping to even out the teams for parity. Each single-elimination game lasted 6 minutes in duration, running time, with Dan and Greg playing for 3 minutes of each non-playoff game, on opposite sides. Each team had at least 7 players and all players were required to play at least 3 minutes per game. Each team was permitted to use up to 4 of the new chairs while playing.

The day concluded with many pictures being taken, hands being shaken, medals being passed out, heartfelt thanks being expressed, and a sweet-sadness about how quickly time passed and how much we all had grown an attachment to each other.

Project KTM eve

Posted: 9th May 2013 by greg in Uncategorized

2013-05-08_19-03-48_7532013-05-09_02-50-45_348 2013-05-08_19-12-43_704 2013-05-09_00-39-35_541Continued sleep deprivation and jet lag could not keep me this morning from rising early and joining Dan on the patio of our modest hotel for coffee and immediately diving into discussions and final prepping for our 2-day clinics and 1 day tournament. After about an hour of rigorous fine tuning and scribbling of notes, we were in jubilant agreement regarding the excellent camp laid out for the next 3 days, and are chomping at the bit to meet our Nepali contingency and getting to work. Afterwards Dan was driven to the covered hall to transport and wrench on our chairs some while I stayed back and finished up some things at the hotel. I had about an hour to roam the local streets before the group returned, and let me tell you there was no shortage of characters encountered in this unique pocket of the world. However, it was a very welcomed reuniting and meeting of a different cast of characters that made my day; when Mike Rosenkrantz, Bishnu, Bahrat, and Dan made it back our way and Maralyn and I joined them at the table for spirited talks and some small revisions of our the plans for our days ahead.
Michael shared with us one of the magnificent medals that were made for the participants in our camp, which beautifully displays the WAW logo. You can see the close-up of one with this blog.
It is now late and the equipment is being laid out for the early morning departure to our venue. Tomorrow is a big day and we will have lots to share, and I am sure some wonderful images. Included here are a just few images from our time and location today, including the capture of Dan imbibing a delicious pineapple juice drink with his favorite straw…

Can’t wait

Posted: 7th May 2013 by greg in Uncategorized

Greg and WAW volunteer Maralyn have successfully made it to Hong Kong and will be boarding their flight to KTM tonight.  Have seen the wonderful posts and pictures of Dan’s successful arrival, and can’t wait to hit the court on Friday!

On a sunny and warm Tuesday afternoon (local Nepal time) Dan is greeted at the airport by Michael Rosenkrantz and Bishnu & Bikram of Nature Trails Tours and Trekking, and Bharat Kargee of Nepal Wheelchair Rugby Association. DSCN1834DSCN1835DSCN1830 DSCN1832    DSCN1837DSCN1831

Dan Prepares for the Trip to Nepal

Posted: 5th May 2013 by dan in Uncategorized

Early Sunday morning, May 5, 2013, Dan will begin the long journy to Kathmandu….with many airline transfers, long layovers and a huge amount of excitement at meeting and working with the wonderful people of Nepal. He arrives Tuesday, May 7 and will hopefully meet Michael Rosenkrantz and Bishnu at the airport in KTM (a short form for Kathmandu that many, many people use).

Back in USA

Posted: 30th December 2011 by peter in Uncategorized

Hello all! I hope you all get to look at these amazing photos! Many I had not seen until today. I arrived in NY after a marathon of travel that included a 4 hour flight from Vizak a 12 hour wait at Dehli international and a 14 hour flight to ny. Suffice to say still a bit tired.
How do I accurately tell you about this project in India? India may be one of those places that you actually have to experience first hand to understand. It is beautiful, tragic, scary and amusing all at the same time. By far the worse traffic i have ever seen and yet people will ride an elephant through this traffic. Poverty is everywhere and so present that you become numb to it. As if it has been around you your whole life. I wonder if this is a defensive system our own minds have block out what really is one of the most horrible things we can experience. Our fellow humans living in horrible conditions with no shoes or shelter. Yet there is great strength in the people of India, and great work being done to attempt to improve people’s lives. Do I feel like our little donation and sacrafice of time made a difference in the grand scheme of things? You better believe I do! Change one person, effect one life and who knows what may happen in the future. I know we accomplished this, you can see it for yourself in the photos. I’ve been part of many good things in my life and I’ve seen many amazing things, but other then the birth of my children and the marriage vows to my wife, I have never been prouder of an accomplishment as I am of this. Dan, Chuck, and Greg I thank you for sharing in this dream and keeping me on track and making it become reality. I thank all our sponsors and the amazing support we got from home and abroad. There is so much more to be done! Work that Before leaving I wasn’t sure I could do but I realize now this work is not a burden but it is a privilege.

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Amar Jyoti Day 1

Posted: 25th December 2011 by peter in Uncategorized

Blogging has been difficult. But today was truly amazing day in Dehli. We went to a school that practices full inclusion and at the same time we were hoping to donate the chairs a famous Bollywood star by the name of Amir Kahn showed up to work on a documentary. Mr. Kahn was good enough to play some wheelchair basketball with us and later Greg Shelly and I ate with him.
We had been teaching about 8 disabled kids and several coaches when the lunch bell rang and we discovered that there at least 100 disabled students at the school….evidently we will get to meet and coach them tomorrow. Pictures will be posted by Dan. Later all!

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A Brooklyn morning

Posted: 22nd December 2011 by peter in Uncategorized

Tuesday morning: 9:15 am

Very grey here in New York but I woke up feeling better then I have in months. The stress of getting ready for this project seems to be completely gone and in its place is anticipation of seeing smiles on faces when people get to play in sports chairs for the first time. In 1999, I sat in a sport wheelchair for the first time and it changed my life literally overnight. What an amazing tool sport can be for self-esteem building. The change of perception in not only the way you view yourself but in the way people look at you is amazing. This is our hope for the few people we meet this week. I am pumped up about it!
New photos can be seen on our photo link. I anticipate the blog will be more difficult to update from India but will do my best. Peace to all and thanks so much for your continuing support.

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